Internet Shakespeare Editions


Forman sees The Winter's Tale

A pedlar and his wares. From Shakespeare's England.

On 15 May 1611, Forman saw The Winter's Tale. Like many audiences since, he found the rogue Autolycus especially attractive.

Remember also the rogue that came in all tattered like Coll Pixi and how he feigned him sick and to have been robbed of all that he had and how he cozened the poor man of all his money, and after came to the sheep shear[ing] with a pedlar's pack and there cozened them again of all their money, and how he changed apparel with the king of Bohemia's son, and then how he turned courtier etc.
(Simon Forman, Book of Plays, 1611; see The Winter's Tale, 4. 3; 4. 4. 219ff and 650ff.)

Forman is careful to point out the moral:

"Beware of trusting feigned beggars [and] of fawning fellows."